October 2010

Today is Klep’s reasonable post day. This means that I am supposed to be reasonable. The funny thing is, is that I have always considered myself to be a reasonable blogger bound by the laws of reason. Which is funny in a way, since I blog about fantasy worlds. So what does reasonable mean in this context? Can you spew forth venom in a reasonable way? Can you denounce traitors, hypocrits and vegetarians in a way that could be construed as reasonable? I think that a reasonable case can be made for it.

Reason, of course, is shaped by your point of view. What may be reasonable to me may be outrageous to somebody else. Is it within reason to ask players to play the game in a reasonable way? Perhaps the next time I am running a random heroic 5 man I could ask all players at the beginning of the run to be reasonable.

Adam: “… and one other thing that I would like to add, if everyone could be reasonable during this run that would be appreciated, thank you.”

Huntard: “What do you mean reasonable?”

Adam: “Exactly what I said. You do understand English, don’t you?”

Warcock: “Is this guy a noob?”

Warrior: “I am reasonable, and so is my wife!”

There was a period called the Age of Reason. Perhaps Klep is attempting to bring that back. Who knows. I would just like players to follow these reasonable suggestions:

Reasonable suggestions number 1: Don’t suck.

Reasonable suggestions number 2: If you do suck, stay away from me.

And that, I think, is a reasonable thing to ask.

My computer is at the shop due to hard drive being fried. I knew I shouldn’t have watched all those Thomas the Tank Engine episodes on youtube. So I’m on the laptop which has no WoW or CiV or anything really, except for Thomas the tank Engine on youtube. So I’ll write a post about random stuff.

It’s still October and yet it is snowing outside. Now I know I live in The Alps but this is still fucking ridiculous. Global warming my ass. And I haven’t put my snow tyres on yet. And I won’t be able to for a week because everyone will be trying to get theirs on, the selfish fuckers. Don’t they realise that I am important and that I need my tyres on but I also don’t want to have to wait around in a smelly tyre place while waiting for them to put them on I mean how hard can it be??

Lets talk about WoW. I have been concentrating on the pvp side of things seeing that a combat rogue is now rarer than a woman wearing a burka in Paris. I went and purchased a couple of nifty arena daggers that I had been literally creaming myself over for months and now I go and get them and it’s just like, yeah whatever so I got the dagger. People are weird, I should know, I am one.
Anyway, I did a few battlegrounds before my computer shat itself like a formula 1 engine, (suck shit Vettel you little tosser), but kept being thrown into the Strand of the Ancients which isn’t a great BG for trying out new stuff from a pvp perspective. The best BG for that, the one that I was hoping to get was Arathi Basin, but okay. A few observations:

Regenerate is awesome in pvp. At times I could literally not be killed. Of course I wasn’t doing much damage in return but whatever.
Mages and warlocks are now very scary. Run away from then, they hurt you.
Hunters are funny. You can play with them and their cute pet before you carve them up into little teeny pieces.
Paladins … ahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Serves you lot right.
Warriors … I tend to yawn when you do your spinny thing now.
I didn’t see any healers. Do they still exist?
Druids were nasty too. I suppose they had to give them something for losing their stupid looking tree form.

There’s been some noise in the blogosphere regarding a certain question put at a Blizzcom panel regarding female representation in the game … again.

“… I love what you guys have done with WoW, I love that there’s a lot of strong female chars, though I wonder if we can have some that didnt look like they came out of a Victoria’s Secrets catalogue? ”

Ask a silly question and you get a silly answer …

“… Which catalogue would you like them step out of then? We feel ya, we want to vary our female chars more in the future. So yeah we’ll pick different catalogues.”

I reckon that they should choose the National Geographic catalogue.

After doing all that needed to be done to get my combat spec back up to speed, (regemming, reforging, respeccing, rerubbing various parts of my body), I went out into the world to kill a mammoth for the daily JC quest. I had to kill a half dozen mammoths before I got the drop, and in that time I immediately noticed something strange: they weren’t dropping very fast. Pre-patch I could drop a mammoth or any other level 80 mob by farting in its general direction. The last couple of mobs I counted out loud how long it took me to take them down. It was about six seconds. Which was weird. I went and tried a target dummy and found that I am down a little over 2K dps. This is huge. This is massive. This is the suck.

Prowling aorund the interwebs I found a lot of players saying the same thing – mastery is broken for combat. It doesn’t work. I’m not going to go into all the technical details because Chase has beaten me to it, (and did it much better than I ever could), so go and check that out for yourselves if you haven’t already done so. As Chase sums up, the two big stats for combat rogues are hit and expertise, but their caps are easily reachable. Once you’ve got there all you’re left with is haste, as crit and mastery are dead in the water for us. So if you have an item that already has haste on it you cannot reforge it.

I have always been a combat rogue from the early days of BC. When you’ve played not just a class but a spec this long it becomes a part of you. It is how you play the game. It is as natural to you as is breathing. The subtlety spec was always the broken spec, but now it seems that it has been fixed. But please tell me why they had to break combat to fix it. Luckily for me I have some daggers after my months of dagger searching for PvP earlier this year, (and a helpful tip: the ilvl264 arena daggers in the Dalran sewers can be purchased now with regular honor. Even if they are not useable for you as you do not have the required areana ranking, as soon as you purchase one you can use it now even though this is last resort stuff as you cannot reforge resiliance), so I can spec mutilate for raiding. But I don’t know if I even want to. This is not a little problem that will be fixed come level 85. Players in the Beta are reporting that it is just as bad at the level cap. And from Blizzard we are hearing sweet fuck all about a very big problem.

Blizzard today announced a new 5 man for patch 4.1 which looks like it could be very cool, (unlike Ruby Wanktum). A pity that I probably won’t be going in there. Who the hell would want me with my incredibly sucky DPS? I mean, it’s not like I’m playing a DPS class or anything now is it.

So my patch download finally finished this morning after three whole fucking days and 21gig. Is that right, 21gig? Vanilla WoW was only about 6gig. What is on this patch anyway? Probably the whole expansion, so don’t bother ordering it on Amazon, just download it direct from Blizzard on release, (all 453.12KB of it). I didn’t do any homework on this patch before logging in this evening for the first time. I thought that I would look at it from the perspective of a noob player who logs on and finds that everything is fucked but he’s been given a little bit of gold for his old Burning Crusade badges that have been sitting in his toolbox for a very long time.

So what did this noob see first? Well, I saw a pretty damn horrible tabard in a lovely shade of pink and red that apparently I don’t have equipped but I’m wearing it. It clashes terribly with my hair. The next thing I noticed was that I had been kicked out of the guild for inactivity by Gevlon … oh no, wait, there’s a seperate guild button now, how neat. And it’s all shiny and new! That’s where those 21gig went to! Then I saw my talents, or lack of them. So what do I do here? I obviously had no idea, so I went off to a trainer and learnt some new stuff. Mastery, can anyone tell this noob what this is? How do I increase it? Can I increase it? I just don’t know, cause I’m a noob. You have to spend 31 points in your main talent tree, (which is combat for me), and it only has about 35 or so, so it’s more about what points you leave out than what you put in. The first ones to hit the cutting room floor for me were the 2 points in Improved Recuperate. I really doubt that I will ever use this ability in a raid situation, as it requires you to use combo points to activate it, and any self respecting combat raiding rogue will poo-poo that idea right away. My job is to do damage, not waste points on healing myself, that’s what priests are for, right? I’m serious here by the way. There are plenty of ways that a good combat rogue can keep themselves alive without having to resort to using your valuable combat points, which will kill your dps. No thank you.

Improved kick and reinforced leather I left out as well, along with blade twisting, improved gouge, and throwing specialization. That left me 5 points to use in the other two trees, oh goody! Oh fuck, more like it. At about this time it dawned on me that this was a chore. This is not fun. I resent having to do all this again. Why am I being made to relearn the wheel? Can’t you just make the morons learn it in the first place?? No, you have to make us learn it again. Okay, then I’ll just throw these 5 points in any old thing. 3 in relentless strikes and the other 2 in leathality. Is that any good? Am I uber now?

Nope, I still have to look at my glyphs, cause there are major ones and prime ones and oh god please shoot me now I can’t take this anymore. Okay, I’ll take improved sinister strike cause that is what a combat rogue is, and I’ll take killing spree and … and … oh fuck it, I’ll just have to look it up, won’t I. Then I made the mistake of looking at my gems. Oh Christ, do I have to redo all this as well? Abd there is a thing called reforging, what’s that? What’s the hit cap now, is it the same? And expertise is that … is that … oh-please-help-me-mother-of-god …

I know, I know. I’ll go have a shot on a target dummy and see if my DPS has improved. Yeah, awesome, that will make me feel better, you know, have some FUN for a change playing a GAME …

Except … I have no DPS meter anymore as the addon is broken …


And then it dawned on me. Cataclysm is being released in 6 weeks. And then we’ll be levelling and I can learn this stuff while playing the game. What reason is there for me to do it all now? There is none. I am going to regem and do all this stuff just to go and run Icecrown? I’d rather masturbate with a cheese-grator.

But one thing is for sure. As a player that used to take great pride in knowing as much as he could, I somehow don’t give a shit anymore. Blizzard has turned me into an actual noob. I am a noob. All I have to do is start typing, lolz gives me hlzs moron and the rot will have finally set in.

The amount of night elf discrimination going on at the moment in the blogging world is a source of deep concern to me, particularly after I thought that everyone else had told me off for doing just that against the awful femo’s. Even more troubling is the fact that the racist and bigoted sentiments directed towards night elves seem to be reserved mostly for their appearence, something which I find to be abominable in the extreme. Is it my avatars fault that she has nicely curved and rounded bouncy breasts? She didn’t ask for them, and yet it is what she has. Yet she is being discriminated against for having such a volumptuous rack by the very same people who were wailing that there are no female staues in Dalaran. One wonders if they did succeed in getting a female in stone strung up before the next expansion if the statues breasts would be covered over in a puritan style. It remains to be seen.

But some of us who have night elf mains, and female night elf mains at that, are not embarassed when we flounce our way around the world. No, we take pride in our many “atributes” that other less defined races lack, who can only jeer at us in a pathetic display of badly concealed envy as we ride past them on our glorious sabre tiger mounts, our breasts bouncing in an orgasmic display of female attractiveness.

Nay, our real contempt is reserved for those who themselves possess a night elf main and yet feel that they should disparage and scorn the very image which has supported them all these years. All of these years that they have been hiding behind a stick-on avatar of a tree. But now that the tree has been stripped away, torn asunder as if a great cataclysm, (see what I did there?), had flung them down against a tide of malcontent only to leave them stranded in a form that they had always carried and yet had hated from afar, what shall they now do? Oh self-haters, what will you do now? Slink to the side and stick a paper bag over your pointy ears? Roll a worgen and delight in your hairy chest? Roll a goblin and delight in the fact that you are very fucking ugly?

Enough I say, enough! Join with me those of you who are still proud to wear your skin with pride and do not seek to change your appearence with petty operations, sorcery and botox. The Night elf Onwards Really Kinky Society, (NORKS), is now accepting members who are night elves without members and who will stand proud in the face of this racist hostility.

(A small joining fee applies which may or may not be updated on a weekly basis).

(Brought to you by the good time, great taste of fish).

I didn’t post last week due to playing some Civ V. I wanted to get some decent time on it before writing a review, which I have done. And the more I played the more a terrible realisation dawned in my brain. Something that is so alien to me, so against all my video game virtues, I felt that I simply had to push it to the side. But I cannot ignore it any longer.

Civ V is not fun.

There, I’ve said it. And this coming from someone who has purchased every Civ game ever immediately on release. I have them all, every box set. I even purchased the box set for this one, (more on that later). It is my number one favourite game of all time. And yet, it’s just not happening for me. They threw the civ book out the window for the fifth installment in the series. And if you compare it with CivIV it is a completely different game in so many ways. Which I am fine with. I have no problem with that, if I want to play CivIV I can load up CivIV. And there are some great improvements in Civ V. The biggest change is no more stacks of doom. Only one military unit can occupy a hex. This has made making war actually strategic and not just a production race. Which is a shame seeing as the AI has about as much strategic sense as my cat, (which is dead).

I’m not going to go into all the technical details of the changes here, you can find that in a bunch of other places. It just feels like we are playing the Beta version of the game. Why isn’t it fun? Well, a huge reason is the fact that the further you get into the game, the longer the time you have to wait between turns for the AI to get through all its bits. This might have something to do with all the city states that are now present, as well as all the civilations, (and before you ask me the obvious, yes, I have a very powerful gaming computer. I built it from scratch with a mate who has a gaming rig shop. My rig is the super powerful awesome rig that gives me 100fps in Dalaran). We are talking around 20 to 30 seconds between turns by the time you get to about the year 1700. This is excruciating in its slowness. I spend most of my time just waiting for the computer to finish saying ‘please wait’ so I can press the enter button again. I am sure that they will eventually sort this out, but as it is now it just sucks. Either I stop playing at this time and start a new game, or I only play on very small maps, something which I never, ever do.

They got a lot of things right with this release. For example, one of the huge problems of previous titles was the fact that there were very few turns between giant technological leaps. So you would discover gunpowder, and get your muskateer as the French, only to be staring down the barrel of some panzers a few turns later. This has been fixed in Civ V. Lots of things have been fixed, too many to list here. But it still isn’t fun. Why …?

I don’t know. That’s the frustrating thing. I’m not over Civ, I’ve been playing CivIV Beyond the Sword for months now. But this version is just lame-ass. For one thing it is way too easy. Winning on Prince is a snore. But maybe I do know why it sucks. I think that Firaxis got greedy. They wanted to expand Civ and introduce it to all the casual gamers out there. So they reduced everything down to its very basics so the drooling retards could play it. But this is a strategic game. If you do that then what are you left with? Fuck all, that’s what. There are no choices here, no deep ones anyway. This was the highest ever selling simulation franchise, and I think they fucked with it just to sell more units. They were never ever going to sell more units than they already were. The geek simulation crowd is maxed out baby. But they tried anyway. And it shows.

One more thing. Amazon? Are you listening to me? Firaxis too, are you there? Yeah? Good. So go fuck yourselves, seriously. I ordered this from Amazon so I could have that one thing most dear to Civ fanatics everywhere – The Civ Manual. That big book that you take with you to bed when you are finally able to drag yourself away from the computer. So you can flick through it at your leisure and get even more Civ. And what did I get? A plastic case with no manual and a computer disk that had no game on it. I had to download it from steam anyway. So I waited 5 days for nothing. And the manual? In PDF form, which I would have to print out. In colour too. Thanks a lot, I don’t have a laser printer. And I can see myself taking all those printed pages to bed and ‘flicking’ through them. Seriously, go fuck yourselves you cheap arse wankers.

There were a couple of comments on my post on Monday that I was going to respond to individually but then I realised that they were connected. And connected in such a way that was a bit more interesting that it first seemed. So I’ve managed to drag another post out of it. Lets have a look at the relevant part of the first comment from Klepsacovic:

“… I suppose weapons for a melee class could be a pretty definite benefit, since it can suck when you get into a dead zone of gear, running 20 levels behind with the weapon…”

My initial response to this was going to be something along the lines that I greatly enjoyed having to scout for weapons when levelling up my rogue. I got hold of some very good ones too. A couple I picked up off the Autcion House, (the Hanzo sword being one of them), some I had fall into my lap by sheer dumb luck, (this awesome beauty from the Sunken Temple), and some I researched and either ran the quest or killed the mob to get them. As I levelled as a combat rogue, I choose to stick to swords, (mostly as that was the only real choice back then), so the choices were often limited but I still made it work. I used to get complimented on my weapons whilst standing around in Stormwind, which was interesting as I was around level 50 at the time and the players complimenting me were maxed out at level 70. So the choice of an heirloom weapon would be a big dose of not cool for me.

That is until I got to the following comment from Akasza:

“… I love heirlooms. They relieved me of some frustration of dungeon ninja looters, especially weapons…”

Hmmm … That kind of throws a spanner in the works doesn’t it.

I brooded on this for a couple of days and the more I looked at it the more I saw a dim answer. In a game as sophisticated and detailed as WoW, any change causes a ripple effect that spreads and reasonates throughout the game. Some changes that at the time seem huge can actually have a small ripple, while other changes that appear to be of little consequence can send a tidal wave rushing towards the shore. The trick as a developer is to predict these ripple effects. Average developers seek to eliminate them. But really great developers can set a change up to cause a ripple that will then set about another change in the game that they wish to see. Thus the desired second change comes into the game by what seems to be a natural effect, and not as an intended manipulation.

There are two changes in the game in the last two expansion that have had big ripple effects. The first of these was the badge system for gear, which was introduced as a daily quest in Burning Crusade and then greatly expanded in Wrath. It was meant to make getting entry level raid gear easier, but actually resulted in the raiding system being completely changed, and not for the better. Blizzard has gone on record lately in saying that the badge system has been a mistake, which is fascinating, seeing that they are going to keep it going in Cataclysm. It’s good to admit mistakes, but it would be even better to learn from them.

The second big ripple effect change was the LFG system, or dungeon finder. The idea was to make grouping quicker, easier and more painless. The reality was a destruction of the social fabric of the game. And when coupled with the badge system, it turned the game into a ‘press the button and get the reward’ lab rat simulation. Blizzards way of fixing this problem in Cataclysm will be to put in place game rewards that actively push everyone into large guilds, with the idea being that there’ll be enough nice people in the guild to do your dungeon running grouping for you.

As the LFG system has come close to eliminating the social aspect of the levelling experience, (so much that I wonder why it is even called an MMO), I am forced to look at my distaste for Heirloom items in a different way. One of the big ways that I found weapons that I wanted, (and indeed other items for that matter), was by hunting them down on WoWhead and then getting them in game, and a lot of these items were found in group quests and 5 man instances. Have you tried to find someone to help you finish a group quest at level 30 lately? Good fucking luck doing that. And with the LFG system encouraging a faceless social system with no consequences for your actions, is it surprising that players ninja everything? I would go so far as to say that if you don’t ninja items using the LFG system as it stands now then you are the stupid one.

So in this context, heirloom items, and particularly weapons, make a lot of sense.

Which just means that I now realise that I do not like the context at all. So I hope that Cataclysm goes some way to addressing this problem, or I am going to play other games. Because as it stands now we are playing a single person adventure game all at the same time. And if you’re going to do that you may as well just buy Dragon Age Origions.